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Thursday, June 3, 2010

1972 Volkswagen Type 3 Fastback


About 15 years ago I talked through a deal where I would swap my 1971 XY Falcon Station Wagon for a VW Fastback. The swap didn't happen but I got to cruise in the fastback on several occasions.

VW built over 2.5 million Type 3's! A big proportion of them were fastbacks so there are plenty around for you to tidy up and get cruising. Especially on a set of EMPI's.

Check out a cool one here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK Count Trossi


This is a cool photo of a Count Trossi SSK. I have featured Ralph Lauren's one before however this one isn't as 'new'. It has a more used patina. Could be just the photo but I get the feeling the owner is itching to walk up and cruise off down the road in it.

Photo credit influx.co.uk.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

1953 Moretti 750 Sport


This is a great shot of a Moretti. I like the shape of the quarter window and the rear glass window highlighted by the black paint. Great colour scheme.

Long time readers of CAR137.com will know I have a real soft spot for lightweight, and fast, low production cars. The Moretti is a perfect example. On the Loudpop site it said this was a 1955 but I'm fairly certain it is a 1953 that was one of 10 imported into the States.

Moretti's engine's were built inhouse and helped the cars to dominate the 750cc class. I featured another model recently here.

More pics here of this cool car || Photo from Loudpop.com.

Friday, May 28, 2010

1962 Mazda R360


One of the early 'Kei' cars the Mazda R360 was Mazda's first proper car. With two doors, four seats and 16hp I was amazed to read it had a top speed of 84km/h. Part of the reason could be it only weighs 380kg.

Mazda had a huge share of the market within a few years of introducing the R360. Amazing car!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ford Truck


I'm fairly certain this is a 1960 '59 Ford F-250 4x4 (please correct me if I'm wrong). This is such a cool shot of a beautiful truck. I had never wanted anything high-rise until I saw this. Styleside beds were very popular when Ford built them and they still look great today. Be great to drive to work in this then head off to the beach, snow, mountain, mud, whatever, it will get you there.

Update: Blair let me know this is a 1959.
"Hey Glenn, this is a '59 F250 4x4, the first year Ford introduced factory 4x4's. Still see a few of these around over here and many in great condition. Wouldn't be too good running one on NZ's petrol pricing though!"

Monday, May 24, 2010

1951 Buick XP-300


Concept cars from the 50's are always beautiful. Especially if they are a Harley Earl creation. The XP-300 was the sister car to the Le Sabre and shared the same 300hp Supercharged V8, lightweight aluminum panels and double shoe drum brakes. See more great pics of the XP-300 here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

V10-Powered BMW E30 M3


It's great when people get stuck in and create their own pice of beautiful motoring. The E30 M3 is one of my favourite Bavarian's and by sticking a M5 V10 in it these guys have really raised the E30 bar. Like the name, "Franken M3", because it really is. Read about the build here and check it out on Youtube. Sounds awesome.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

1956 Moretti 750 Sport Le Mans


I love cool, small, European cars and Moretti's are a great example. Moretti's are small, very small, light cars. They dominated the 750cc class and depending on the body style could do 100mph. Amazing engineering to achieve that. Beautiful cars that aren't too expensive yet.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fiat 124 Sport Spider


Fiat 124 Spiders are very stylish and another Pininfarina triumph. The bodies were made by Pininfarina and the running gear and chassis by Fiat. It was a very good partnership for both companies that went from 1966 to 1985 and produced one of the world's longest running sports car production runs. Very cool, beautiful cars.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

1967 Porsche 910 Spyder Coupe


Beautiful shot of a beautiful, powerful racing car. Endurance racing cars are always beautiful, really grunty, blindingly fast and even reliable. Amazing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

1955 Ferrari 375MM Sport Competizione Speciale by Pininfarina


With a mouthful of a name like that it might be easy to dismiss this Ferrari 375MM but after seeing it on martinchisholm.com I'm sold.

This would easily have to be one of the best Ferrari's ever built.  From the front grill to the vents in the front guards to the rear wings this is a beautiful car. Check out some more great pics of it here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

1933 VW Prototype


I think this shot shows a VW Prototype in its natural environment. Plus the guy looks pretty cool in his coat and hat. Hitler pulled out all the stops to get a car for the people built and Ferdinand Porsche did not disappoint getting three prototypes ready by 1936.

The war put a bit of a damper on production but variations of the Beetle were used during the war. I even had models of them. Loved the amphibious ones.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ferrari Dino 246 GT


At school a mates dad had a Ferrari Dino and I used to see and hear it go past my house because they lived up the road. As you can imagine very exciting for a young car. What is really cool though is that the car is still owned by the same guy. It's been restored, and had a few new coats of paint, but it still looks and sounds as great as it did over 20 years ago. A beautiful Ferrari that is still very cool today.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Porsche 935 Turbo


A great side shot of the Porsche 935 shows just how radical this car was in 1980. With such huge horsepower hanging behind the back wheels Porsche needed to use every trick in the book to keep the back in control.

Big turbo, lots of lag, 800hp and mechanical fuel injection made the cars crowd favourites bellowing huge flames on the overrun. The 935 was a very winning car. Wikipedia says that of the 370 races a 935 was entered in 123 were won. Amazing feat in a car that they had to change the rules on so other makes had a chance.

The beautiful shot above is by Kevin Hulsey.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

BMW M1


This is how I like to remember BMW M1's. Going fast with drivers like Piquet, Lauda and Andretti behind the wheel. These M1's are from the '79 and '80 Procar Series in which Formula One drivers raced identical cars. It was a short lived but very exciting series that had huge names, big speeds and lots of horsepower. Awesome!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

1964 Scarab Transporter


Transporters are very cool. So much work used to be put into them that they are great examples of beautiful motoring. The Scarab Transporter was restored by Don Orosco who invested around 8,000 man hours into it.

Read the full story at AutomobileMag.com. Well worth it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

1964 Aguzzoli Condor


Love it when I find cool one-off cars. Not a lot is known about the Aguzzoli. Sources say it was built on a Alfa Romeo Guilia TZ chassis and powered by a Giuletta 1300 SZ engine with a Citroen DS19 gearbox. Very European but it proved to be flawed and a 1600 twin plug motor with a Hewland transaxle was fitted.

What is definite though is that the car was commissioned by wealthy salami traders Giovanni and Sergio Aguzzoli, the body was designed by Franco Reggiani, and built by Piero Drogo.

An amazing car that was short lived due to Alfa Romeo not supporting it. Sounds a bit like the DKW not being supported by Audi.

Lots of pics at DieselStation.com.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mark 3 Cortina


Been seeing the odd Mark 3 around lately. Beautiful cars. They still look great.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Buick Grand National



The Buick Grand National is one of my favourite cars. I remember following this build in Turbo Magazine. Yes like you I have piles of car magazines. Even had to sell some of them. Turbo Magazine did some nice work on this GN. It looks great in black with the 5 spokes and cool stance.

Grand Nationals aren't the most beautiful of cars but the looks were more than made up for when Buick put the 3.8 litre V6 turbo under the bonnet. They upped the horsepower every year of this generation and although there weren't as many made they were all black and went like stink.

Monday, April 26, 2010

1970 Porsche Tapiro



This is a great shot of a beautiful car and it's silver clad fashion accessory. The Porsche Tapiro was designed in 1970 by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design. Based on the Porsche 914/6 platform, a favourite of mine, it was reportedly one of Guigiaro's favourite designs.

The Tapiro had a mid mounted 2.4 litre flat 6 cylinder Porsche engine with 220 bhp. Not bad for a fairly small, light-weight car. Check out some great pics here of the gullwing doors and initial design. Very cool.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

1969 Pininfarina Sigma Concept



I do have a soft spot for concept cars. This one was designed and built to show F1 could be a bit safer. Didn't take off though. Open wheel racing is just that, open wheel racing. Covering the wheels isn't what punters want to see although sources say this would have been a lot faster than the F1 cars of its day.

The Sigma is very Hot Wheels and if you google it you will see some amazing pic of it from different angles. A beautiful car that was the brainchild of Paul Frère (race driver and car-journalist) from Automobil Revue, Pininfarina and Prof. E. Fiala, supported by Enzo Ferrari as well as Mercedes and Fiat.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mercedes-Benz 300SEL "Red Sow"



Engineer Erich Waxenberger started Mercedes ideology of putting big motors into smaller Mercedes when he put a 6.3 litre V8 from the 600 limousine into the light weight W109 S Class sedan.

What was once a mild mannered family sedan turned into a beast that had the potential to kick some supercar butt. Some sources say it could beat a Lamborghini Countach. Cool.

AMG then got their hands on 300SEL's and turned them into racing cars for customers. The V8's were usually bored to 6.8 litres and put out 420hp plus. The one above, nicknamed "Red Sow", was entered by AMG into the 1971 24 Hours of Spa and came 2nd. Amazing due to the fact it required a lot of fuel stops and went through a lot of tires. It was so heavy and fast it was sold to Matra to test jet fighter landing gear.

A beautiful car that started a new era of racing cars.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

1961 Triumph TR3A



Eric from Vienna put me onto the Triumph TR3A. His one was a rare factory hardtop with the Laycock Overdrive. The Triumph TR3A was built between 1957 and 1962 and was facelift of the TR3. It did come with some handy features part from the new grill; exterior door handles, lockable boot handle and came with a full tool kit as standard. Excellent. Something handy that was an option on the TR3.

Even though the TR3A was a very popular car it was seen by Triumph as a stand in while they got the TR4 ready for production. They made the 2.1 litre made for the TR4 available for the TR3A. Although not many were meant to be fitted the 2.1 would have made the TR3A a very quick car.

You can still see TR3A's racing and even though they are 50 years old they are still competitive.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Citroën SM



I saw this beauty from Citroen on Jalopnik.com and I think I'm in love. How awesome is this car? But it gets better. The motor, a V6, was built by Maserati and combined with the low drag ratio pushed the SM to 140mph. Built to supersede the DS the SM was hailed as revolutionary. The best thing about it though really is it's looks. Beautiful.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Enzmann 506






















What a beautiful little car! Built by the Enzmann brothers in Schupfen, Switzerland between 1956 and 1961, Enzmann cars made quite an impact. They also put the wind up Porsche 550 owners who probably weren't too impressed with being passed in the mountains.

Enzmann used to buy new Volkswagens, unbolt the Beetle shells from the floorpans, and bolt the very cool body you see above on.  Sources say only 100 cars were built and although looked down upon by some because of the Beetle origin most of them had 130hp Porsche 356 motors making the lightweight car, around 510kgs, a potent little package. Some owners fitted the motors with Okrasa parts from EMPI and some even braver ones put MAG and Judson Superchargers on them. Excellent!

Check out the Enzmann website at http://www.enzmann-506.ch/ if you are interested because they are making the body's again.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Datsun 260Z - The miGHty datsun

Datsun 260 - The miGHty datsun



This Datsun rocks. It was posted on Ze Last Chance Garage du 78 blog by Sonic Seb and I am pretty sure its a 260Z but I haven't been able to confirm that.

All I can tell from the pics, which you can see here, is that it has an L motor running triple Webbers, big body kit, cage, wheels, and obviously a lot of other work.

Just check out the pics because they tell the story and if anyone has more information please email me, editor@car137.com.

Thanks to Chris from BIKEEXIF for the tip.

Monday, April 12, 2010

1951 Chevy Station Wagon


Love this shot of a rusting out old Chevy wagon. I imagine it used to look something like this ...


How cool would you be driving in one of these. Seasick Steve has one and reckons he won't part with it any time soon.

The 1951 Chevrolet Station Wagon had a wood like finish around the windows and body line. Chevrolet wanted to combine the 'smartness and distinction of a wood grained finish with the strength and safety of an all steel body'. Woohoo! However, that meant the '51 was quieter, more durable and a lot easier to keep shiny and new. Plus it had seating for eight with rear seats that could be readily removed for more luggage space.

A great example of beautiful motoring.

Info from 51classicchevy.com.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Koenigsegg Agera 2010

The new Koenigsegg Agera is a beautiful looking car. New for 2010 Koenigsegg have done an amazing job on the Agera. Check out the interior. It is really quite something. Very well finished and without some cheap arse components you will see in a Ferrari. If you ever get a chance to look in a 599 you will see what I mean. It looks like they spent all the money on the dash and steering wheel.

Agera is the Swedish verb for 'act' and I'm thinking you would act quite silly if you got your hands on one of these. Twin Turbo's, better breathing, and 910hp help make sure the Agera 'acts' like the proper supercar it is. Plus Koenigsegg say it has the largest luggage space of any supercar. How many guys would be taking their wives out for a drive in this? Not many. On the website they have a video with it starting up at the beginning. Sounds great. Can't wait to see the Top Gear track test.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ford GT40

My favourite colour for the Ford GT40 is the Gulf colours run in 1968 and '69. The Gulf Oil Company sponsored the original GT40 design (Mk.1) using 302ci V8 and the new ZF transaxles. This set up was the winning combo and after several years of rule changes and fragility the GT40 started winning everything. The most outstanding would have to be the record breaking wins at Le Mans for both 1968 and 1969 using the same car (Chassis #1075).

Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver teamed up for the 1969 race against the new Porsche 917's and new 3.0 litre cars from Ferrari, Matra and Alfa Romeo. What makes this victory special is that they were in an old car that no one gave a chance to and it was Ickx's first Le Mans. I have seen video of him walking to his car while everyone is running and staying there until he has done his seat belt up. He didn't like the 'Le Man's' start because no one belted themselves up properly. He was proven right when John Woolf fatally crashed his 917 on lap one and Willy Mairesse had a career ending crash because they weren't belted in properly. Maybe the run across to the cars was the part of the fascination with Le Mans but I'm glad they stopped it because the cars they were racing in were too powerful not to be securely belted in.

Jacky Ickx has said he still considers the 1969 Le Mans race his greatest race of all and he would be right. An amazing win in a car that should have been outclassed. Beautiful car from a beautiful time.

Read more here and here and for more beautiful motoring join us on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

1976 Toyota Corolla Coupe

1976 Toyota Corolla Coupe
Old school Toyota Corolla's are very cool. Love the green paint and the tan interior of this one. Not the hardest wearing of vinyl used but these cars do some amazingly high miles in their lifetime and so the interiors cop a lot of abuse.

In 1976 the Corolla's were two years into a new face lift that had made them rounder and of course bigger and heavier. However these are the last of the light Corolla's before they got square and really heavy. They also got safer of course. But safer generally means slower.

There are a lot of these rolling around and I think they are a great investment. Upgrade the motor to a 4AGE, put in some decent suspension, update the brakes to a later model, maybe add some wheels and you have yourself a sweet daily ride. Although you might want to keep the 2T especially if is a 2T-G as they had 124hp. Not bad power in a car this light with RWD. Beautiful motoring on a budget you can't go past a Corolla Coupe.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

1954 Pontiac Bonneville

1954 Pontiac Bonneville

This is a very beautiful car. Very beautiful. ...... ....... That was a long pause so you can have a good look at it.

In fact have another look at it from a different angle.

1954 Pontiac Bonneville Rear

The Bonneville is another Harley J. Earl handbuilt concept car. It was the first Pontiac to have the name Bonneville and amazingly, I think, it was used as the performance platform for 47 years.

The plexiglass bubble has gullwing doors and the body was fibreglass with obvious inspiration from America's fascination with rocket design. The scoops on the bonnet worked and the recessed headlights have been copied by hot rodders and other car manufacturers ever since. Check out the spare wheel cover. It looks like it's going to start glowing and once a button is pushed launch the car into hyperspeed like the Batmobile of Adam West.

The Bonneville set the style at Pontiac for a long time and what I like about Harley J. Earl concepts is they were generally driveable. He used to use them as daily transport. The two Bonneville's built had 268ci Straight 8's that were reported to have had 300hp. A lot for the time. The motors were detuned for production and there is a rumour the Bonneville's could have had the new V8's but GM marketing said to hold the motor back for release the next year.

Look out for these cars at an auction on day because they still exist and might come up for sale. However you will want to have a big cheque handy as the green one was sold for US$2.8million in 2006.

Friday, April 2, 2010

1963 Ford Falcon Sprint

1963 Ford Falcon Sprint

I thought that the 1963 Falcon Sprint would be the perfect car to follow the Shelby Mustang. Ford was really getting it stuck to them from the Europeans with their 'compact' cars until 1960 when they brought out the Falcon. It was released as a sedan and a station wagon with a 90 horsepower six and was a huge hit. Then in 1963 Ford brought out a convertible and a fastback coupe.

With Lee Iacocca pushing the 'Total Performance' slogan Ford decided to enter motorsport full on in 1963. I was surprised to learn Falcons were entered in rally events and did very well in the Monte Carlo Rallye. Amazing for such a big car.

Having a V8 option made the Sprint even more popular and a great foundation for a 'sports' compact. To boost the sporty image a rev counter was added to the top of the dash and bucket seats were fitted as standard.

A beautiful part of motoring history that would have kept going apart from the fact an cooler car was released in 1965, the Mustang.

Photo credit.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

1965 Shelby Mustang Cobra GT

1965 Shelby Cobra GT Mustang

This is the Mustang I want to own. Same colours and wheels and if I can't get a real one, they are getting more expensive by the year, I will have to build a replica.

The GT350 is as pure a sports car as any British or German etc one. No frills, light weight, good handling (for the time) and lots of grunt. Plus it just looks beautiful.

Carroll Shelby did a wonderful job on these cars and in a recent interview with Jay Leno, watch the video here, he said that the '65 was the best for racing and that after '68 Mustangs were just road cars. Two heavy, too much stuff. Love the fact the GT350 was named by Shelby after weeks of to-ing and fro-ing with executives from Ford. He was in a meeting with them and he asked an employee to walk over the road to his other factory to see how far it was. He came an said it was 348 steps. Shelby said, "Fine we will call it the GT350. You can fly back to Detroit now."

Best Carroll Shelby quote; "A car makes a name. A name doesn't make a car." Brilliant!

Monday, March 29, 2010

1959 Ford Levacar

1959 Ford Levacar


Roaming through the interweb I saw a pic of the Ford Levacar and had to find out more. There wasn't a huge amount written about it but I did find some interesting info. Hopefully someone will know more.

The Levacar Mach 1 was unveiled in the Ford Rotunda at Ford HQ in 1959 and was a full size prototype. Which meant a person could sit in it but not much more. With an eye on the Jetsons the Levacar was designed as a one man flying car and was meant to be able to do 200mph. Some sites said 500mph but I think 200mph is nearer the speed it was designed for.

At the rotunda the Levacar levitated several inches off the ground powered by air jets tethered to the stand like a tether car. Ford planned to power the Levacar with a turbojet so maybe 500mph wasn't that far off for personal transport. Great thinking though and beautiful design.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

1971 HG Holden Belmont Ute



I want this ute! Beautiful motoring Holden style. I saw it on oldholden.com and it's owned by Andrew. Great story because the HG was brought back to life over six years and finally finished in November 2008. What's also cool is his mum brought it new in 1971 to drive her dogs to shows. I know my mum wouldn't have brought a ute in 1971. She did drive a Studebaker though. That's another story.

Back to the HG. Andrew has restored it back to stock along with the 14inch steel wheels and added in a great handmade grill. It adds a nice touch that would make it really stand out in a row of Aussie utes but keeps the stock look.

Under the hood though it's a different story because Andrew has fitted an 11sec package with a 450+hp 383ci V8 and Ford 9inch differential combo. He has another set of wheels for when he wants to flaunt the grunt a bit more.

What I also like about this car is the detail and that there is some cool touches under the hood like an aluminium cold air intake. It's worth taking a look at all the pics on his site and I'm going to keep an eye out for Andrew at car shows because it turns out he moved to New Zealand and is building some beautiful cars over here.

See pics of the build here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Robbie Francevic's Custaxie


I saw the Custaxie in the latest copy of New Zealand Classic Car and thought what an incredible car. The history is fantastic because this car changed motor racing in New Zealand. Designed by Robbie's mate Tony Kriletich it was built 'under' a house in Grey Lynn by Tony, Robbie and a lot of mates. Having a budget of zero meant the guys had to be very innovative and they came up with an almost unbeatable car. Especially with Robbie at the wheel.

The Custaxie came about after Robbie's dad refused to let him use the family 62 Ford Fairlane. He found a '55 Ford Customline and matched it with a borrowed 427ci Ford Galaxie competition motor from a speedboat.

A lot of the innovation was in the body, because the Customline had to go on a crash diet, and the suspension. Aluminium panels were used but the coolest thing was the front end. In the mid '60's fibreglass front ends were not the norm and so they had to find someone to make it. First they built a mould from chicken wire and plaster of paris and then found someone to make the front end. Something we could do easily these days was a nightmare for them.

The suspension is amazing with dual Koni's out the back and new axles and suspension links so they could get the widest rubber they could under the car. Amazing stuff and cutting edge technology. Then again with huge horsepower, around 500, getting the power to the ground is a priority if you want to go fast. This car is incredible and after years of being hacked around and forgotten has been rebuilt to it's former glory. If you get a chance to see it in action make sure you do and buy the latest New Zealand Classic Car for a great indepth article on a beautiful part of NZ racing history.

Photo Credit: Rikko40

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

1955 Chevrolet Corvette - The Duntov Test Mule EX-87


This beautiful car came up for sale in 2009 and generated a lot of interest because it was the first 'real' performance Corvette. The car had come up for sale after Daytona and racing legend Henry 'Smokey' Yunick's widow ringing a friend to say I have some stuff here you might want.

And some amazing 'stuff' it turned out to be. After a year of really going for it Steve Tate, with a small team of friends, rebuilt this great car.

It was 1955 when Zora Arkus Duntov at Chevrolet Engineering was handed the car to get ready for a high speed run. A year before the car had been used by the Chevrolet Chief Engineer Mauri Rose as a test 'mule' and so had an experimental V8 put in by Smokey. To get ready for the run Duntov had an experimental camshaft made. Engineering wasn't to keen on it but in December 1955 the car went 163mph helped by Duntov's new camshaft that gave the 307ci V8 275hp. This camshaft also became synonymous with Duntov as it helped the Corvette gain fuel injection.

He made modifications to the body that really make it stand out today. With a hat tip to Jaguar he made and fitted the fibreglass tailfin. I'm not sure if these tailfins actually worked, someone might know, but they look cool and gave the driver a good headrest and a bit more rollover protection. The other mods were the single windscreen, passenger side cover, and some lightening of the car.

After the run the motor was used in another Corvette that ran 150mph at Daytona Proving Grounds. An amazing feat by the standards of the day and it was these feats that made Corvette into the legend it is today.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

1930 'Baby' Austin 7 Sports


I saw this Baby Austin on Trademe and it reminded me of one my dad used to tell me about. Baby Austin's are very small cars. Just over 6ft long and weigh around 600 kgs. Not considered the manliest of cars in America they were the equivalent of today's hot hatches and did very well in competition, especially with supercharged motors, because they were so light.

I've been told the racer built by a friend of dads, Ian Joynt, revved to 13,000 rpm like a motorcycle engine. Never having been in it I cannot say for sure how fast it goes but I'm assured very fast. Easily doing 100mph. Not sure how it held together at 13,000rom but it still runs to this day and has a beautifully hand built aluminum body.

A beautiful little car that saved Austin from going under the Baby Austin's are fantastic to see and hear run. Check out this barn find Austin here. Great story and I saw these pics on Flickr. Amazing. Love the Green Special. Pigsty Racing having been building fast Austin's for 30 years. Their website is http://pigsty-racing.com/.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mark III Ford Zephyr


I saw a beautiful example of a Mark III Zephyr today driven by a very proud man in his 50's with his wife in the passenger seat. Elbow out the window, cruising. The perfect car for the beautiful day in Auckland. Like the one above the car had the split grill denoting it was a Zephyr 6. I like the fins on the Mark III. A little bit behind the times in 1962 maybe but they look very cool.

Having put on a lot weight going from the Mark II the 98hp, 2.5 litre 6 didn't really have much of a chance. However, lot of racing drivers did very well with the Mark III by transplanting V8's into them.

I read this line in an article on the Independent, "... the Zephyr 6 was equipped with front folding armrest, invaluable for keeping the driver anchored." Brilliant! Read the article here.

If you have one of these parked in the garage it's a great time to get it out and start cruising. And if you want to buy on I saw this one, actually two, on Trademe here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

1980 Alfa Romeo GTV


I remember someone I knew having one of these. I'm certain it was a female and it was always breaking down with electrical faults. But when it went, it was great. Handled well and sounded so cool and different to the usual Japanese cars we all drove.

Styling by Giugiaro makes the GTV a beautiful looking car and it's excellent handling and great motor mean it's still a cool car today. The one above is a 1980 Alfetta 2000 GTV and this is the shape I remember.

There is a link to the previous Alfa 159 I posted directly to the 1980 GTV. The drivetrain configuration used in the GTV was first used in the 159 F1 car almost 30 years before. The gearbox, clutch, and differential are at the back to maximize weight distribution and this was the main reason the GTV handled so well. Rear suspension was a de Dion beam and the front was double wishbones and torsion bars. Very advanced even today. A beautiful car with a lot of attention to styling, power and handling that still rates today.

Monday, March 15, 2010

1951 Alfa Romeo Tipo 159 Alfetta



One of my driving hero's is Juan-Manuel Fangio. Fangio was the man for me. A great driver who won five Formula One championships and completely dominated Formula One in its early years. He drove beautiful, powerful cars with great finesse and is considered the greatest driver ever. Even by the great Michael Schumacher who took the title of most F1 championships of him, after 45 years, in 2003.

The 159 Alfetta above is the one he won hi 1951 World Driving Championship in and is an amazing looking car with a huge amount of horspower. 450hp in face from a dual supercharged 1.5 litre straight eight. I recommend you search Youtube for some video's of these at 9,500rpm, incredible. The 159 is one of the winningest cars ever built and by 1950 was a 12 year old design that Ferrari and Maserati were only just starting to catch.

Alfa Romeo have never done so well as they did with this car but they did it so well I don't think they really had to. Point proven. Beautiful motoring F1 style. It's so beautiful I had to include this pic of its insides. Fantastic.



Photo one credit: WebCars!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Subaru 360


I like the Subaru 360. It's very cool and as a retro ride it would be a great addition to any garage. Not the fastest, or the safest car, ever built it was the first car mass produced by Subaru and unleashed on the world. The 360 was built as a Kei car. A class of Japanese car that is still very much alive today with the current Subaru R2 taking it's design cues directly from the 360.

Powered by a 356cc two stroke motor producing 16hp when introduced, and 36hp by the end, the 360 was never going to be a great performer. But, it could do 66 miles to the gallon while carrying four passengers. Quite amazing. Of course being a two-stroke you had to mix oil with the fuel. Subaru's answer was the fuel cap was a measuring cup. Very cool.

The suicide doors really were 'suicide' doors with tests showing they could blow open at speed. That would have made life very interesting at 60mph. Beautiful motoring Japanese Kei style.

Photo credit: subaru.com

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ferrari 250 TR


This photo shows perfectly what beautiful motoring is. Stripped bare the Ferrari is maybe more beautiful than painted. The body is a work of art. The roll cage and the air intake gives you an inkling of power that will be hidden away when the car is completed.

The 250 TR was a very successful race car for Ferrari. The TR stands for Testa Rossa (Red head for the valve covers) and it is a name that has been put on only a few Ferrari's. All of which are outstanding.

Powered by a small, deceptively powerful 3.0 litre V12 the lightweight 250's were very fast. The motor alone weighed hundreds of pounds less than it's main competitors like the XK Jaguars and made 276hp. The most powerful thing about 250's though is how much they go for at auction. You won't get a lot of change from US$8 million if you buy one. One even went for just over US$12 million in May 2009.

If I owned this car I would be keen to leave the body bare for awhile, drive it on the odd occasion and have it as beautiful art in my garage.

P.S. Sorry I haven't been updating the blog as much as usual. Normal service resumes this week.

Photo credit: loudpop.com

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

70's Toyota Celica


Why back in the early 90's a friend had one of these Toyota Celica's and he scared the heck out of us in it. One night passing a huge line of traffic between Renwick and Blenheim. With a blue printed motor, twin Webers, exhaust, a host of other mods and good suspension it did it with ease but it was still butt clenching stuff. A colleague at the time had a later model one, a GTT, with the twin spark plug head and a turbo. That made for an insane ride with lots of lag and then a huge force pushing you into the seat. Fun times in the RNZAF.

On Wikipedia it is written that the name Celica is ultimately derived from the Latin word coelica meaning "heavenly" or "celestial". I'm not convinced Toyota were channeling old Romans at the time but the early Celica's look fantastic. Maybe 'heavenly' could be used to describe them by a Celica nut.

Another beautiful car to add to my garage and a classic in the making because they started to get a bit ugly after this model. However Toyota redeemed themselves by winning the World Rally Championship with the GT4.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 500

You might be thinking, "What is an S-Class Merc doing on CAR137.com?!" Well I had one over the weekend, this exact car in fact, for my wedding car.

I have never been in a car with so much technology on display. It's incredible what you can do and I was amazed at how easy and intuitive it all was to use. The main thing I wanted to try out was the night-vision and I got to try that on the way out to Piha. Awesome! My bride was a bit worried because I was looking at the screen instead of the road sometimes but I could actually see more in most cases because of the poor road lighting. I'm not sure how often you would use it in New Zealand but if it was belting down or your headlights were out it would be very useful.

For such a big powerful car I found it harder to drive fast than the Bentley Continental Flying Spur I drove recently and it dawned on me this is just a BIG cruiser. BIG being an important word here. The seats are 'spacious' and don't offer a heap of support. More like a comfy lounge chair. Which would be fantastic for long distances and larger people. I felt like I had a lot of room to move. Everything seemed far away for me and I felt smaller than my 5"11.

What was impressive though was the power delivery. Smooth and like a constant push in the back. Plenty to get you moving but not enough to be in awe of or scared of. Handling was interesting because it just got on with the job of going round corners and flattening any surface. Perfect except I couldn't work out anything nice to say about it. It just handled.

It is a beautiful car to look at. Impressive Mercedes stance, big wheels and sharp lines. My overall impression of it was of a heavy car. It felt heavy, it looks heavy and it's the type of car a heavy might drive or be chauffeured around in. Great car for eating the miles or hauling your family around.

Thanks to Lee at Independent Prestige for loaning it to me. If you want to buy this impressive caryou can view it on the Independent Prestige website.